Before the Chinese annexation of Tibet, Tibetan traders had a strong presence in northern India. Following the takeover, Beijing sealed the border with Tibet’s southern neighbor, which both greatly damaged the Tibetan economy and made it more dependent on China. Although Beijing claims to have reopened the routes, it looks like there are some unwritten restrictions in place (via Tribune India):
Although Indo-Tibetan border trade resumed in 2004 along the old “Silk Route”, authoritative sources said not a single trader from Tibet had been allowed so far to enter India for trading.
“Though traders from Kinnaur have been going every year, not even a single Chinese trader has come to India,” confirmed Sanjay Sharma, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Pooh, the issuing authority for trade passes.
In sharp contrast, Indian traders, majority of them hailing from Kinnaur have been going across to Shipki village in Tibet with their cargo every year.
“The trade was resumed in 2001, we kept waiting with garlands for Chinese traders at Chuppan to come to Kinnaur with their goods but our wait proved futile as no one was allowed to enter India by the Chinese authorities,” reminisces Pasang Cherring who, however, goes over to Tibet every year.